Author Topic: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)  (Read 10769 times)

Harry Edmon

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According to President Matthew Harrison the following resolution was passed at the Mid-South District Convention on July 3:

SUBJECT: TO REJECT RACISM AND ADVANCE THE GOSPEL

WHEREAS, God has created all people and they are blood related going back to our mutual fathers, Adam and Noah, and all are subject to the stain of original sin, but now also have been equally redeemed by the blood of Christ in order to be reconciled to God and to each other; and

WHEREAS, God’s Word says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “’You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:8, 9); and

WHEREAS,  Racism (the sinful notion that some races are inherently superior to others),   misunderstanding, and strife are present in the world and experienced in congregations due to our sin; and

WHEREAS, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) abhors racism, and in convention has passed resolutions repudiating all racism, (see 1992 Res. 3-03 and 2019 Res. 11-04A); and

WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become a common, multifaceted, and controversial theory for discussion of contemporary race relations; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the Mid-South District in convention reject the world view of CRT, as it is contrary to Scripture and counterproductive to true racial conversation and reconciliation, for it pursues equality of outcome (“equity”) between racial groups, which requires treating individuals unequally based on race, and also reject all organizations, movements, petitions, and theological language that support that world view in a positive manner; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the LCMS Mid-South District reject any doctrine that teaches:   

● One’s race, ancestry, or nationality are inherently superior to the race, ancestry, or nationality of another.
● Any individual is inherently racist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, because of his or her race, ancestry, or nationality;

RESOLVED, That the circuits of the Mid-South District of the LCMS develop an objective mission and ministry action plan for outreach to diverse communities among us;

RESOLVED, That the congregations of the LCMS Mid-South District be encouraged to conduct conversations on race and diversity, to strengthen unity within the congregation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the congregations of the LCMS Mid-South District be encouraged to engage members of their communities in these conversations, in light of Christ’s Gospel; and be it further

RESOLVED, We commend those within the LCMS Mid-South District who intentionally proclaim and work to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus to those who are different from themselves in the light of the Great Commission; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That the Mid-South District send this resolution to the Synod as it gathers at its 2023 Convention to do similarly.
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2021, 12:39:44 PM »
Tremendous news!  Thanks for sharing the text of the resolution.  My hope is that actual conversation takes place over this.  This is where all the "Call the question" delegates need to stay in their seats.  I would also hope that the group Lutheran for Racial Justice would speak and make their case.  Then the question can be called. 

Jeremy
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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2021, 01:24:35 PM »
WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become a common, multifaceted, and controversial theory for discussion of contemporary race relations; therefore be it


Huh? From what I've read on Critical Race Theory, it supports all the previous "whereases" from a secular and historical viewpoint. It is not in conflict with a Christian approach to equality of all people.


Or, the resolution should show support for its contention that CRT is a "controversial theory for discussion of contemporary race relations." What seems controversial is that we are talking about racism, and the history of racism in America in ways we haven't done previously. There were people who were never taught that we had Japanese interment camps during WWII. Because our Lutheran ancestors were victims, we might be more aware of the persecution of German-Americans during WWI. At one congregation I served, the parsonage was burned down at that time. (The congregation still had German-language services. That soon stopped.)
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D. Engebretson

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2021, 01:41:54 PM »
RESOLVED, That the LCMS Mid-South District reject any doctrine that teaches:   


● Any individual is inherently racist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, because of his or her race, ancestry, or nationality...

This is the part of CRT that I have struggled with the most.  The idea that I am "inherently racist" simply because I was born a while male.  That whatever I have and whatever I have accomplished is traced back to that 'advantage' of my skin color and the history of our country that favored that color.

Now I will admit that many atrocities were committed against minorities.  That's not the debate, at least for me. It's that racism is, in a way, 'cooked' into the very structure of our society - even today. And that I should apologize for all that my forebears have done over the last several hundreds of years of our nation's history.  And what is my responsibility for reparation of these atrocities?  Do I denounce my so-called status as a white American male?

CRT, some content, is only an academic theory mainly discussed in law schools. Or maybe even universities. But not in our lower elementary system.  But it is far more widespread than that. It is being discussed in elementary classrooms. We need to have discussion on this as a society.  Is this 'theory' going to define how people now interact in the future regarding their race?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 01:44:28 PM by D. Engebretson »
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George Rahn

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2021, 02:16:20 PM »
This brings up an over-arching matter as to what extent ought churches in general address political, social and cultural issues in terms of making public opinion.  I continue to wrestle with this. 

Dave Benke

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2021, 02:38:22 PM »
This brings up an over-arching matter as to what extent ought churches in general address political, social and cultural issues in terms of making public opinion.  I continue to wrestle with this.

There's the rabbit hole. 

My understanding, not referenced in specific, is that President Harrison himself spoke first about "CRT" in some blog or post, condemning it.  So the district resolution is an adjunct to his own already-taken position and may have been created to buttress more officially what had been blog-posted.

Fast-forwarding to the next national convention, as Jeremy has in his post, if and as this is given the old convention-session hash-through and then - in my estimation - passes in the way presented here by around 80-20, what happens next? 

If somebody says at a congregational Bible study, "There are aspects of critical race theory which I believe are on target Scripturally," does something happen to that person in terms of spiritual or ecclesiastical discipline? 

I think what's especially interesting in Jeremy's post is linking Lutherans for Racial Justice to this resolution.  The level of assumption in doing so seems presumptuous to me.  If the end-game is to have a majority vote and pinch it toward targeting one group in the LCMS, it will in my opinion backfire, big time.

All that being said, the Mid-South District, composed of the red-state trio Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee, has resolved to do a whole bunch of things that we can monitor and assess:

RESOLVED, That the circuits of the Mid-South District of the LCMS develop an objective mission and ministry action plan for outreach to diverse communities among us;

RESOLVED, That the congregations of the LCMS Mid-South District be encouraged to conduct conversations on race and diversity, to strengthen unity within the congregation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the congregations of the LCMS Mid-South District be encouraged to engage members of their communities in these conversations, in light of Christ’s Gospel; and be it further

RESOLVED, We commend those within the LCMS Mid-South District who intentionally proclaim and work to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus to those who are different from themselves in the light of the Great Commission; and be it finally


So the way out of the rabbit hole is engage, conduct and develop an inclusive mission strategy.  I think Lutherans for Racial Justice, those whom I know, would give those resolveds a standing ovation. 

Dave Benke

Charles Austin

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2021, 02:44:04 PM »
I thought we had a generally agreeable and favorable discussion about "Caste" the Wilkerson book. She writes, and I thought most of us liked it, about experiences and the conclusions she drew from them, along with some scholarly sociological analysis about "white privilege."
It is wrong, I believe to say that Critical Race Theory "categorizes" people based on race, that is, automatically names White citizens as racist. It is correct to say that white people today have benefitted from the racism of the past, a racism that persists, though in different ways than before, in key structures of society.
Consider the current struggle with voting rights.
Consider the economic inequalities, inequalities that are based on income, not race, but the fact is that AFrican Americans and other non-whites experience the inequalities more frequently than white Americans.
I think the district scraped together the worst possible image of CRT, got all huffy about it, and passed the resolution.
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Harry Edmon

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2021, 02:54:09 PM »
Several of the overtures to the District Convention that were addressed by the resolution explicitly mentioned Lutherans for Racial Justice. The convention was wise in not including such language in the final resolution and concentrating on the biblical issues involved.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 08:15:58 PM by Harry Edmon »
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

jebutler

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2021, 03:09:55 PM »
It is wrong, I believe to say that Critical Race Theory "categorizes" people based on race, that is, automatically names White citizens as racist.

Here are reports from actual lessons that say you are wrong. The links embedded in the articles show source documentation.

https://www.city-journal.org/racial-equity-programs-seattle-schools?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/antiracism-comes-to-the-heartland?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/identity-politics-in-cupertino-california-elementary-school?wallit_nosession=1

Consider the current struggle with voting rights.

What are you talking about? Please give three examples of actual people not having the right to vote.
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D. Engebretson

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2021, 05:36:15 PM »
It is wrong, I believe to say that Critical Race Theory "categorizes" people based on race, that is, automatically names White citizens as racist.

Here are reports from actual lessons that say you are wrong. The links embedded in the articles show source documentation.

https://www.city-journal.org/racial-equity-programs-seattle-schools?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/antiracism-comes-to-the-heartland?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/identity-politics-in-cupertino-california-elementary-school?wallit_nosession=1

the “abolition” of whiteness.

This term stood out to me.  I was not really sure what it meant. Apparently "whiteness," in this sense, is a tendency to set limits in how far they (those identified as "white") will go in terms of true racial equality.  It is an effort to protect the advantages and privileges assumed in "whiteness."  "Whiteness" is enshrined, we are taught, in what we have called "American Civilization." "Whiteness" supposedly permeates everything in our society.  It is essentially irredeemable and must be destroyed.  Much of this was advanced by Noel Ignatiev.

Although "whiteness" is supposedly not the same as "white supremacy," it seems the two get put together at times.  There is a 'scale' of whiteness with "white supremacy" at one end (the worst) and "white abolitionist" at the other.  This last category seeks to dismantle whiteness which involves changing the institutions that support and encourage it.  The premise is that our current structure - governmental, business, education, etc. - still serves and supports "whiteness."  Or at least at a yet unacceptable level. 

From what we saw in the past year it appears that a complete reorganization and major defunding of law enforcement is part of the process of abolishing whiteness.  It also seems to involve a rewriting of history and the way we have historically taught it in our elementary and secondary schools.  Prison reform, likewise, is part of the efforts to "abolish whiteness," including looking at ending incarceration which is felt to be statistically against those who are not "white."

There is probably more, but I'm gathering that the "abolition of whiteness" is a complete overhaul of our culture and society. 

And it begins, I am assuming, by admitting that if I am white, I am already part of the problem. 

« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 05:38:22 PM by D. Engebretson »
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St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

David Garner

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2021, 06:38:50 PM »
It is wrong, I believe to say that Critical Race Theory "categorizes" people based on race, that is, automatically names White citizens as racist.

Here are reports from actual lessons that say you are wrong. The links embedded in the articles show source documentation.

https://www.city-journal.org/racial-equity-programs-seattle-schools?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/antiracism-comes-to-the-heartland?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/identity-politics-in-cupertino-california-elementary-school?wallit_nosession=1

the “abolition” of whiteness.

This term stood out to me.  I was not really sure what it meant. Apparently "whiteness," in this sense, is a tendency to set limits in how far they (those identified as "white") will go in terms of true racial equality.  It is an effort to protect the advantages and privileges assumed in "whiteness."  "Whiteness" is enshrined, we are taught, in what we have called "American Civilization." "Whiteness" supposedly permeates everything in our society.  It is essentially irredeemable and must be destroyed.  Much of this was advanced by Noel Ignatiev.

Although "whiteness" is supposedly not the same as "white supremacy," it seems the two get put together at times.  There is a 'scale' of whiteness with "white supremacy" at one end (the worst) and "white abolitionist" at the other.  This last category seeks to dismantle whiteness which involves changing the institutions that support and encourage it.  The premise is that our current structure - governmental, business, education, etc. - still serves and supports "whiteness."  Or at least at a yet unacceptable level. 

From what we saw in the past year it appears that a complete reorganization and major defunding of law enforcement is part of the process of abolishing whiteness.  It also seems to involve a rewriting of history and the way we have historically taught it in our elementary and secondary schools.  Prison reform, likewise, is part of the efforts to "abolish whiteness," including looking at ending incarceration which is felt to be statistically against those who are not "white."

There is probably more, but I'm gathering that the "abolition of whiteness" is a complete overhaul of our culture and society. 

And it begins, I am assuming, by admitting that if I am white, I am already part of the problem.

Here is the test -- and I admit I do not know enough about CRT to answer the question -- is "whiteness" something one is born with and cannot change?  Or is "whiteness" some sort of state of mind that one can adopt or reject?

If the former, this is plainly racism.  If the latter, then I suppose it doesn't matter because I can simply suggest I don't possess it and move on.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

D. Engebretson

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2021, 06:49:50 PM »
It is wrong, I believe to say that Critical Race Theory "categorizes" people based on race, that is, automatically names White citizens as racist.

Here are reports from actual lessons that say you are wrong. The links embedded in the articles show source documentation.

https://www.city-journal.org/racial-equity-programs-seattle-schools?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/antiracism-comes-to-the-heartland?wallit_nosession=1
https://www.city-journal.org/identity-politics-in-cupertino-california-elementary-school?wallit_nosession=1

the “abolition” of whiteness.

This term stood out to me.  I was not really sure what it meant. Apparently "whiteness," in this sense, is a tendency to set limits in how far they (those identified as "white") will go in terms of true racial equality.  It is an effort to protect the advantages and privileges assumed in "whiteness."  "Whiteness" is enshrined, we are taught, in what we have called "American Civilization." "Whiteness" supposedly permeates everything in our society.  It is essentially irredeemable and must be destroyed.  Much of this was advanced by Noel Ignatiev.

Although "whiteness" is supposedly not the same as "white supremacy," it seems the two get put together at times.  There is a 'scale' of whiteness with "white supremacy" at one end (the worst) and "white abolitionist" at the other.  This last category seeks to dismantle whiteness which involves changing the institutions that support and encourage it.  The premise is that our current structure - governmental, business, education, etc. - still serves and supports "whiteness."  Or at least at a yet unacceptable level. 

From what we saw in the past year it appears that a complete reorganization and major defunding of law enforcement is part of the process of abolishing whiteness.  It also seems to involve a rewriting of history and the way we have historically taught it in our elementary and secondary schools.  Prison reform, likewise, is part of the efforts to "abolish whiteness," including looking at ending incarceration which is felt to be statistically against those who are not "white."

There is probably more, but I'm gathering that the "abolition of whiteness" is a complete overhaul of our culture and society. 

And it begins, I am assuming, by admitting that if I am white, I am already part of the problem.

Here is the test -- and I admit I do not know enough about CRT to answer the question -- is "whiteness" something one is born with and cannot change?  Or is "whiteness" some sort of state of mind that one can adopt or reject?

If the former, this is plainly racism.  If the latter, then I suppose it doesn't matter because I can simply suggest I don't possess it and move on.

If I understand it correctly, "whiteness" is the protection and privilege of those identified as "white" which was built upon historic atrocities that still perpetuate current structures, practices, and organizations.

If that is the case, I don't think that those who accuse others of being guilty of "whiteness" would be content with people simply suggesting they are not guilty and then moving on.  They would like the structures that are supposedly protected and privileged by "whiteness" to be abolished and remade.  If there is "systemic racism," then there must be "systemic" change and overhaul of the entire system of government, the economy, education, etc.  "Whiteness," as generally defined, is not redeemable.
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David Garner

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2021, 07:20:56 PM »
If I understand it correctly, "whiteness" is the protection and privilege of those identified as "white" which was built upon historic atrocities that still perpetuate current structures, practices, and organizations.

If that is the case, I don't think that those who accuse others of being guilty of "whiteness" would be content with people simply suggesting they are not guilty and then moving on.  They would like the structures that are supposedly protected and privileged by "whiteness" to be abolished and remade.  If there is "systemic racism," then there must be "systemic" change and overhaul of the entire system of government, the economy, education, etc.  "Whiteness," as generally defined, is not redeemable.

In that case, they are hampered by their own language.  Because power systems and institutions that protect white power are not best explained by the word "whiteness," which sounds like something else.

Much as with the redefinition of "racism" to include things one does not mean to be "racist," such as being able to go to college (something I was the first of my grandfather's children or grandchildren to accomplish), etc. as "racist."  I suspect the use of a non-descriptive term is intentional, intended to allow for equivocation.  But even if it is merely horrible judgment, it is in fact that.

For my part, I will simply continue to advocate for the eradication of inequities such as increased police attention, disparity in sentencing, etc. Perhaps it is lazy, but I'm way too old at this point to learn a new way of talking that seems like it was sent from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2021, 08:20:04 PM »
Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod president, Matthew Harrison, posted the Mid South District CRT resolution on Facebook.  His comments begin with one word.  ""Excellent."

I find it totally inappropriate  that the president of my church would use the social media in this way.  What has the LCMS come to?

Former Atlantic District president David Benke offered a resolution that reflects how Christian pastors, particularly those who identify themselves as Lutheran, are called to lead their people in the mission of the Church.

In heart and mind I grieve that the resolution was adopted and that President Harrison posted it on Facebook with his endorsement.

Marie Meyer 

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Re: Mid-South District of the LCMS rejects Critical Race Theory (CRT)
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2021, 09:02:53 PM »
RESOLVED, That the LCMS Mid-South District reject any doctrine that teaches:   


● Any individual is inherently racist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, because of his or her race, ancestry, or nationality...

This is the part of CRT that I have struggled with the most.  The idea that I am "inherently racist" simply because I was born a while male.  That whatever I have and whatever I have accomplished is traced back to that 'advantage' of my skin color and the history of our country that favored that color.

Now I will admit that many atrocities were committed against minorities.  That's not the debate, at least for me. It's that racism is, in a way, 'cooked' into the very structure of our society - even today. And that I should apologize for all that my forebears have done over the last several hundreds of years of our nation's history.  And what is my responsibility for reparation of these atrocities?  Do I denounce my so-called status as a white American male?

CRT, some content, is only an academic theory mainly discussed in law schools. Or maybe even universities. But not in our lower elementary system.  But it is far more widespread than that. It is being discussed in elementary classrooms. We need to have discussion on this as a society.  Is this 'theory' going to define how people now interact in the future regarding their race?


I would contend that racism is cooked into our human nature. It's part of our sinfulness. It seems that the histories of every civilization includes racist elements. (Not usually based on the color of skin; although that's an obvious difference.)
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